Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Fall is here! Fall is here! I woke up this morning to a blissfully cool, unsticky 72 degrees. Fall.

Windows open, pumpkin scones baking, kids off to school. Fall.

Resisted the urge to wear a sweater to drop-off. But I did wear jeans for the first time this year. Fall.

And sure, it'll be in the high 80s by noon and we'll have the a/c on later. But the turn has come and I am pretty certain that we'll be able to open the windows every morning from now until April. Fall.

Good-bye to 24/7 a/c. Good-bye humongous electricity bill. Fall is here!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Is she talking about lizards AGAIN?

If you're a regular reader, then you know I have a well-documented terror slash fear slash phobia of lizards and frogs. Despite Mr. J's skepticism, it IS a real phobia and has a real name which I can't remember right now. I also have several lizard&frog-based theories, prime among them being that the lizards&frogs step up their efforts to get into the house when Mr. J is out of town.

For instance: Sunday night, a random huge frog?toad? who didn't get the memo that Mr. J was leaving MONDAY launched itself at our glass-paneled front door as we were watching the season premier of the Amazing Race. I suppose, what with our door being in total disrepair and as ancient as all the other fixtures in our house and it being a fairly large frog?toad?, we're lucky that it didn't knock the glass right out of the moulding thus landing it in our foyer. Mr. J did the honorable thing and without so much as a single cuss word, snuck out our alternate front door, crept up to it and smacked it across the porch with a folded-up Whole Foods brown paper bag (does that count as recycling?). So it goes hopping across the porch for a bit then I saw it hop up and over the wall into the gardenia bushes. Which will now go unweeded for another few weeks because I'm not messing with frogs. But I digress. Where was I? Lizards.

As planned, Mr. J left Monday afternoon for his biz trip and so I shouldn't have been a bit surprised when I found a lizard lurking behind the reading chairs at 10:00 p.m. last night. I WAS surprised that the only reason I found it was that I was hustling over to get to Fizzy who was noisily throwing up in the corner -- all over the lizard. I didn't know whether I should be completely torqued at the dog, who is so utterly high maintenance that if you delay her evening snack by just 30 minutes she will retaliate by throwing up, or completely grateful to her for doing it on the lizard. Anyway, the lizard, which was fairly large compared to the ones that have snuck in lately, was obviously stunned and alarmed by this twist of fate and not moving quickly. Which gave me a chance to run for a can of bug spray (oh yes, Raid stops more than ants & roaches in their tracks) and a shoe. So I drowned it in Raid, whacked it with the shoe (Mr. J's Merrells. Sorry honey.) and then securely covered it with a Hawaiian lei patterned Dixie cup leftover from Dagny's birthday party. Where it will remain until Mr. J returns.

Then I used gloves and roughly half a roll of Bounty, along with my now-standard holy trio of Lysol, Febreze and Slatkin's air freshener to clean up after the dog and mop up the overflow Raid puddles. Wait, didn't I write that exact same line just a few days ago? II've had quite enough of cleaning up after the dog . Who snuck that into my job description?

And, if anyone is interested, there is still no sign of the lizard in my MomMobile, so I will probably give it another week and then declare it dead. At least in reality. In my head it will live on and on.

Monday, September 28, 2009


As promised, Dagny has started ballet and gymnastic lessons after school. She is happy as a clam to be doing something other than swim lessons, I'll tell you. I'm still happy I took a hard line approach to making her learn to swim though, because she's as at home in the water as a fish. FINALLY.

We're about to embark on Swim Lessons, Part II since Anders will be registered to start spring swim. I thought it was a good idea to let him get settled into school before adding anything else. I hope he gets the hang of it quicker than Dagny though -- and with way less trauma.

It's hard to believe they've already been in school a whole month.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Did anyone else out there watching the UF-Kentucky game last night almost DIE when Tim Tebow didn't get up? I just started praying and pacing and freaking out a little - it took me the rest of the game to get my heart rate back to normal. But he did get up and hopefully it is just a concussion. And thankfully John Brantley is an excellent back-up QB -- in any other college program he'd be the starter. And now he might get his chance at UF.

Here's the story.

Get better, Tim. You know everyone in the Gator Nation is pulling for you!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


And it turns out it's not the poor dog's fault at all.

Anders confessed to feeding her his unwanted Granny Smith apple slices during snack on Thursday. Well, confess implies he came to me all guilty and sad-eyed to own up to his misdeed. Instead I caught him sneaking her pieces of quesadilla at lunch today. And this after I was up at 4:00 a.m. to take her out, and then I couldn't get back to sleep, and then I spent the wee hours of the morn wondering what dread disease she would be diagnosed with next week at her annual checkup.

So I was in a less than understanding mood about the quesadilla.

"Anders! Stop!" I said. "What's wrong with you?! Remember Fizz can't eat people food? Now throw out that hunk of gnawed quesadilla!"

Anders, looking guilty, "Sorry Mommy! I remember. She only eats apples."

"Apples? No, she doesn't eat apples either. No people food."

"Well, she ate them at snack yesterday." (By yesterday he could mean any day in the past, but the only day we had apples was for snack on Thursday afternoon.)

Ah. Mystery solved. At least we don't need an ultrasound and $50 worth of steroids and antibiotics.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Camels, straws, etc.

You know how you have that one thing that is THE dealbreaker? The line in the sand? The straw that finally breaks the camel's back?

Turns out mine is canine incontinence.

The dog just destroyed the art room. Never seen the likes of it. Such. A. Mess. It rivals our famous "river of poo" story.

So instead of Anders & I making banana bars w/ cream cheese icing (sorry Debbie, no treats this weekend!), I get to clean up dog s**t from the art room's finely grooved pine wood floors and Anders gets to make funny observational comments about: the smell, the dog, Mommy's language, the state of the art room, poop in general. Which is actually sort of a high point for him because everyone knows how funny poop is to a 3-year-old.

After my thorough cleaning and bleaching, I have the holy trio of Lysol, Febreze and Slatkin's home fragrance at the ready.

Doggy Depends are next.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

This old house, or stuff I'm working on (or should be)

Weeding the yard. But with temps in the mid 90s and similar humidity, I'm not feeling too bad about letting this slide for another month. But. It's still atrocious!

Figuring out how to re-place our paver patio area. We still have the pavers, just need to get them back down. See above for the reason I'm putting this off.

Cleaning, decluttering and reorganizing upstairs closets. Some people do this in the spring, I do it in the fall.

Weed out all the 2T clothes from Anders' dresser and take them to the consignment store. Will have to wait until a school morning or I'll risk encountering some, um, pushback on certain items. Like the navy and maroon striped tee that is way too small, but one of his favorites. Dagny calls it his Winnie-the-Pooh shirt since his tummy sticks out.

Search around for: a game table for the living room, bunkbeds for Anders, desk & chair for Dags. I'm thinking Craigslist is a good place to start.

Buy caddies for cleaning supplies so I don't have to schlep them upstairs every time I clean.

Learn how to work the sewing machine so I can make window treatments. And a tablecloth.

Buy wood blinds for master bath.

Check out Etsy for art for the living room.

Frame kids' art for the playroom and our sunroom.

Decide what the heck we're going to do about our lack of a back door.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Any tips out there (Debs? Stacey?) for making homework fun? Oh, and also for motivating a distracted seven-year-old? We've apparently lost our homework mojo over the summer.

It's causing her to want to rush through it, she makes silly errors, and stumbles over easy stuff. We've gotta get our groove back! Although knowing Dags it'll come back on it's own...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Technical difficulties

We just found out that one of our first parenting decisions appears to have backfired.

Up until now, we've been very careful about how the kids have been introduced to various types of media. They don't have (and never will) computers, phones or TVs in their rooms. They watch and love movies, but we have limited their early TV watching. When they do watch it's usually PBS or Noggin, although we've relaxed a little bit with that and, thanks to TiVo, we can FF through commercial breaks and objectionable scenes. And as far as computer games go, except for our whopping three Dr. Seuss CD-Rom games, a few passes around Webkinz world and playing Bedazzled on Aunt Jenny's iPhone, neither kid has ever played online games. They really don't have the attention span for it and since neither Mr. J nor I have the slightest interest in Nintendo, PS2, Wii, online games, etc. the kids have had minimal exposure or interest in those types of things.

BUT. This year a lot of Dagny's homework and practice sheets -- especially for Maths -- is online! And guess what? She doesn't like it! She gets frustrated and bored and doesn't know where to click and is really unmotivated to do her work. I think she'd rather do flash cards with me (I hope I'm not projecting). It's not that she can't do the work, she just doesn't want to do it on the computer and more importantly, she doesn't really get how the online games work. There's no "competition" that she can see, hear and talk to like there is when she & I are throwing down with Quirkle or Mancala or Clue Jr. So now we're in the position of recanting a little and are going to try to encourage her to play online and learn how online games work. We've even debated getting a little laptop dedicated to their homework to make it more fun and to head off any competition between me reading blogs and someone wanting to practice addition.

Or maybe I won't worry about it, buy a set of dominoes to practice number theory, and continue our philosophy that sooner or later they'll pick it up on their own.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

What's for breakfast?

NOT BAGELS! The story....

At 5:16 a.m. I was jarred from sleep by a huge, explosive burst of white light and the most enormous thunder clap. Seriously, it sounded like a car had fallen on the house and exploded. In 2.8 seconds Anders was up and in my arms shaking and crying (he hates lightning & thunder). I got him tucked into our bed where he dozed and played and talked for the next 90 minutes until I deemed it time to get up; mostly after I heard him muttering "who's going to play with me? no one. no one wants to play with me. everyone just wants to sleep."

Soooo.. we come downstairs and it is early-ish, dark and dreary and rainy. Anders loves loves loves to bake with me so I think, "mmmm. Let's make fresh, hot bagels! perfect!" Or not so perfect. The heat & humidity must have killed my yeast, because I tried to proof 3 packets and not a single one of them got going. Bummer.

I am taking this as a Sign to kick back, pour myself a jumbo mug of hot coffee and go play Indiana Jones with my sweet boy. And maybe go out for bagels later.

*Lizard Standoff Day 6: No lizard, no body. My Mom informed me that lizards are very good at withstanding hostile environments and extreme temperatures and that maybe, just maybe it might still be alive in the MomMobile. But not to worry cause it's probably pretty weak by now and won't be moving fast. I haven't moved my visors in 6 days (and doubt I ever will again) because I'm positive that it has crawled up behind there to wait/die and when I flip it down it will fall into my lap. And yes, I really do think that.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Eight years ago today, at 9:30 a.m., Mr. J and I were on a plane bound for San Francisco. We never made it there. We were grounded in Dallas, with no explanation, and found out about the 9/11 attacks along with about 13,000 other people also stranded in the D-FW airport.

I'll never forget the sadness, anger, shock and uncertainty of that day and the week that followed as we waited to get back home. When we were finally able to fly back to Florida I remember seeing, for the first time in this country, armed soldiers in the airport. And it wasn't scary - it was comforting knowing that they were there to defend us.

I'll never forget that day. I hope my children never have to live through anything like it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Standoff - day 4

Still no lizard. No body either. As Pooh would say, Oh Bother.

Anders and I went here for our playground time today and had an excellent time - beautiful weather, REALLY nice playground,* great observation tower overlooking Boca Ciega Bay and we had an awesome time pretending we were jungle explorers on the boardwalk. Every time I turned around he'd pretend to make snake noises and then say "Did you hear THAT?!" in his most ominous voice. Cutey little cutester.

We got a bit hot and sweaty by the end, but played for almost 2 hours without major discomfort -- I think a change is in the air.

* The playgrounds around here have all had a major upgrade lately. New, cool equipment and they've also put up big sunshades on a lot of them which keeps the equipment and kids much cooler. As we head into Autumn, and the weather allows us to play outside more often, I'm sure we'll be frequenting a lot of the other really nice playgrounds around here -- one of the reasons I'm happy A isn't in school full time yet. And kudos to our local parks dept. who has started to put astroturf around the play areas! No more torn up scruffy grass! No more sandy messes! No more nasty, dirty mulch! No more bugs! I would have thought I'd miss the "natural beauty" of grass/mulch/sand but NO I DO NOT. The astroturf is soft, cushy, stays cool on little feet and hands, is way cleaner than grass, and I'm sure they save a fortune on maintenance. And as this is Florida, if you want nature there's plenty of other places to see it. (Start with our yard featuring $2000 worth of dying sod. Hmpf.)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


While loading up the MomMobile (aka 2007 Honda Odyssey) to return to St. Pete after a fabulous Labor Day weekend at my parents' house, my Dad casually said to me, "Hey Trish, there's a lizard in your car." An innocent statement to most. To me? The eight most terrifying words in the English language.

Why? Because I hate lizards but more importantly I am also deathly afraid, phobic, terrified, petrified of them. The sight of one in my house (let alone my car) can induce hours of near-paralysis and Mr. J will attest to my utter inability to function normally until I know it is dead. Through sheer force of will -- and because it would wake up the children -- I no longer scream when I see them, but I do utter a strangled cry and immediately start praying. Mr. J says he knows immediately when he hears that cry that he's up for a lizard hunt.

My Dad tried hard to get that lizard for me. He emptied half a can of Raid into my vehicle, he moved seats, he thrust a pointy umbrella into the small crevices under seats and under the dash. But, ultimately, he lost eye contact with it and it vanished. (If you are trying to get rid of a lizard, Rule #1 is NEVER EVER lose eye contact.) Sadly, there are just too many places in a Honda Odyssey for a lizard to hide. I'll have to write a letter to Honda since that's about the only complaint I have with my ride.

I couldn't sell the car, I couldn't switch cars with my mom (although we considered it), and I couldn't just stay there for the rest of my life. So, ultimately, we had to leave. I made the 2 hour drive home on red alert. For the first 45 minutes I cried silently in terror. The kids, who are not afraid of lizards, treated me with utter kindness and only shouted out "There it is!" once or twice before they realized it wasn't in the least bit funny. Eventually I settled on driving with my eyes firmly fixed straight ahead. I was so scared that I'd look down at the floor and see it. Or that it'd be hanging from the visor ready to drop on my lap. I spent major mental energy steeling myself in case I did see it because I was seriously worried that it WOULD pop out and then I'd lose control and have/cause an accident - especially bad since I had the kids with me.

So now we're on Lizard Standoff Day 3. I haven't seen the lizard. Can it be alive after two days in a closed-up car in 90+ degree weather? It has to get up to around 110 in there right? Plus no food or water, surely it's dead or found a way out. Right? But without a body for proof, I imagine it's under my seat waiting to sproing out at me.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


Three things that are broken or not working correctly:

My poor old faithful iMac - runs slower than cold honey

Kitchen sink faucet - has a terminal drip

Our sweet doggy - cries when you bump into her, sleeping a lot, trouble walking

Not sure which to fix first.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Today is the 2nd day of the 2nd week of school.

I have 2 kids.

There are 2 days left until Dag's first test of 2nd grade.

There are 2 weeks and 2 days until our first Brownie meeting of the year (the 2nd level of Girl Scouting.)

In 2 years both kids will be in school full-time, five days a week. (GASP!)

There are 2 things that I'll never (try to) make again: homemade mayo and casseroles.

There are 2 reasons I get up every morning: God & family.